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The Situation Room

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

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  CNN    The Situation Room    News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting  
   and online resources update international news. New.  

    December 7, 2012
    1:00 - 3:59pm PST  

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you know, you should be asking that question regardless, so where's the personal responsibility? you can't just say oops. >> reporter: if you read the language closely in some laws, it talks about that personal responsibility, but ultimately for the person that's hiv positive, these laws are really targeting those people specifically and i think this whole notion of what they're obligated to do, what punishment they may incur is really what's at the heart of the issue. >> still a question mark. sanjay gupta, thank you so much. see more reporting from sanjay this weekend. saturday afternoon, 4:30. wolf blitzer is in "the situation room." happening now. breaking news, united states supreme court just announced it will decide two highly controversial cases about gay marriage. also, retailers gearing up for the holidays are having a big impact on the nation's
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unemployment rate. but if you look closer, there's a disturbing trend in the latest job numbers. plus, president obama's top strategist as you've never seen him before. and during this hour, a member of the cnn team is ready to up the ante and reach for his own shaving cream. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> let's get right to the breaking news. the united states supreme court has agreed to decide a pair of cases that could determine the future of gay marriage throughout the entire united states. at issue is the federal government defense of marriage act that defines marriage as only the union between a man and woman and california's
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proposition 8 which banned gay marriage was overturned by an appeals court. cnn's crime and justice correspondent joe johns has been following both cases for us. joe, explain the impact of today's decision. >> well, it is big impact. as you know, this is one of those cases that people talk about over the water cooler. let's start with proposition 8. very simple, wolf, it is the california ballot initiative passed in 2008 by the people of the state of california that established marriage as between a man and a woman. it overturned a court case that said same sex couples have the right to marry. windsor is the other case you were talking about, it is an attack on defense of marriage act which was passed in 1996 by the congress, signed by the president. it's called windsor against the united states. it is about a woman named edith windsor who had a long time relationship with her partner,
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and they were married in 2007. spier died in new york in 2009, and edith windsor got a lot of money. something like $363,000 as a result of that, she was required to pay that in federal estate taxes on her inheritance. she would not have had to pay that money if federal law had given that same sex relationship the same status as opposite sex marriages get. so it's pretty clean, a clean cut case. even the obama administration has already said it doesn't think the constitutionality, defense of marriage act, can withhold a legal attack like this, wolf. >> we expect arguments to be made when and decision to be made? >> i would estimate sometime around march of next year for the arguments. probably sometime around june of next year for a decision by the court, wolf.
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>> all right, thanks very much. joe johns reporting for us. bring in our senior legal analyst, jeffrey toobin and analyst gloria borger. jeff, first to you, once the supreme court makes that final decision in the spring, maybe by june at the end of the term, we will know whether or not same sex marriage will be legal, not only in those states like new york state or maryland or iowa where it is legal, but throughout the united states.
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>> it is a possibility, there are limited possibilities. the court specifically took nose in this case, whether the question of whether the people defending the law in california even have the right to be in court. do they have standing. they could simply rule that the people defending the law don't have standing. that wouldn't even deal with the issue of the constitutionality of same sex marriage. that would be a procedural ruling that would allow the court to duck the issue of is there a constitutional right for gay people to get married. so it's a possility that all 50 states could be ordered to have same sex marriage, but it's also a possibility that the court could duck that issue all together. >> obviously we have to wait to see what the nine justices decide. gloria, you've done a lot of work as i said on this. you interviewed awhile ago ted olson, he was a republican, he
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is a republican, supports same sex marriage. here is one of the things he told you. >> younger woman who works here is a lawyer, she came up to me and she said ted, i want to tell you what i think about what you're doing. she said i am a lesbian, i don't think you know me, we haven't worked together. my partner and i have children. i can't tell you what you're doing for us by taking this case and she started to cry and then i did. >> that explains why he teamed up with david boyce and made the argument in favor of same sex marriage. >> right. i mean, this is a very clear cut issue for ted olson who as this conservative icon has come under a great deal of criticism by republicans. what he says is proposition 8 violates the equal protection clause of the constitution, and that's it. and he makes a very clear cut argument about it.
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this is somebody by the way that tried 56 cases before the supreme court, i believe. he has won 44 of them, and is of course on this case now, teaming up with david boyce. he was the democrat that opposed him in v gore, they think they have a shot at the swing vote going their way. >> the public attitudes changed, not only president obama supporting same sex marriage, president clinton who signed defense of marriage act into law, he supports gay marriage, but the american public attitudes have changed. back in 2005, 35% thought same sex marriage should be recognized. now it is up to 53%. here is the question. do the justices, the nine justices, are they influenced by public opinion? >> you bet. they sure are. this is an issue that wouldn't even have been on the agenda had
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the public not changed so dramatically. let me just tell you a story from supreme court history. 1986, the first real significant gay rights case that the court ever had, the swing vote at the time was lewis powell. and he was in his chambers, said to his law clerk, you know, i don't think i ever met a homosexual. no justice would say that today. as it turned out, that law clerk himself was a gay man, although he didn't disclose it to the justice at the time. the world has changed so dramatically, the polls have changed. justice ruth ginsberg often talks about the reason she won as a lawyer all the women's rights cases in the 1970s is that the world had changed for women's rights in the '70s. the justices were willing to look at that issue in a new way. this is a different time when it comes to gay rights. now, whether that gets the supporters of same sex marriage to five votes in this case, i don't know, but the fact that the country has changed so
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dramatically makes a huge difference in how the court approaches this issue, though the justices don't admit that. >> gloria, some support same sex marriage that are concerned the nine member supreme court don't have the votes, don't have the five votes that would achieve a victory for same sex marriage, marriage equality across the country, if you will, so they're nervous about the supreme court taking up the case, the current makeup of the supreme court. >> that's right. they were nervous about this strategy, saying gee, why did ted olson and david boyce do this, was it because they wanted to try a case before the supreme court, if they lose, would it be a real set back, you know, and i asked them that very question saying why are you doing this. the demographics of the country are changing, wait for the country to catch up with the way you feel. that's what a lot of gay rights activists felt, and the answer i got from them time and time again was really the court does do the heavy lift very often for
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the country. they point to the case that legalized interracial marriage, that that was more than 40 years ago, and the court was ahead of public opinion. now, as jeffrey says, just in the last couple years i've been doing this story, public opinion has shifted dramatically their way, whether that will convince justice kennedy, of course, remains to be seen, but they say this is exactly what the court ought to be doing. it ought to be doing the heavy lift without the politics involved. we'll see. >> and who knows how the nine justices will rule. retailers are gearing up for the holidays. they're behind. roughly one of three jobs created in november, and even though the unemployment rate is down, there's an alarming trend we're seeing. stand by. because sleep is a beautiful thing.
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now to the numbers that at first glance look like they're very good news for the u.s. economy and the obama administration, the nation's jobless rate fell to 7.7% in november as employers added 146,000 new jobs. the jobless rate hasn't been this low during the entire obama administration, but that's only part of the story. a closer look also shows a big reason behind today's drop in the unemployment rate is that 350,000 people dropped out of the work force in november. they're discouraged, many of them are, that they simply quit and they're trying to find work. christine romans joins us from new york. we saw the unexpected drop in the unemployment rate, but christine, take us a little behind the numbers that make up the headlines. >> 7.7% is that unemployment rate, the lowest since december, 2008, from before the president took office. 146,000 jobs created, twice what
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economists have been expecting. they really didn't see the pull back because of hiring being depressed because of hurricane sandy. maybe you'll see some of that in the next month, but this was a strong report on its surface. digging in the numbers. look at the right side on that graphic, 14.4% underemployment. the percentage of people working, eligible in the work force, 63.6%, you want that higher, too. >> we also learned about 350,000 people last month simply gave up and stopped looking for work, and that potentially caused that little drop in the unemployment rate. >> that's right. that's important to note, too, 350,000 gave up working. these could be people that are retiring early, taking early social security and they're getting out of the labor market. it could also be people, wolf, who have been on extended
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unemployment benefits, they roll off the benefits, try to find work for a couple months, they don't, so they drop out, too. >> are the november numbers part of a trend we've been seeing? what does this portend down the road. >> you have on average 151,000 jobs a month, the monthly average. the last couple months before now were revised downward. you look at the right side of that big chart, you can see we're slowly digging our way out of that big sea of red, but we need to see jobs sustained above 150,000, 200,000. it underscores how important it is to get the fiscal cliff fixed so you don't have companies holding off hiring beginning of the year. >> better to be above the line than below the line. if we look at other economic indicators in the past week or two, there have been some positive signs. >> there have been.
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stock market, dow is above 13,000. investors are betting on the fact that the fiscal cliff is going to get fixed. gdp was revised higher third quarter, hoping maybe some of it carries into fourth quarter. housing has been strong, too, wolf. when you look at mortgage rates, they're at record lows still. housing prices are creeping higher. there are these other bright spots in the economy. >> christine romans, doing the work for us and doing it well. thank you. >> thanks. despite the signs of a slow but steady growth of the economy, there's still a real fear the u.s. will fall back into recession if president obama and congressional republicans can't head off big tax increases and government spending cuts that are now 25 days away. for now, the administration is looking at the economy's bright side. let's go live to our white house correspondent dan loathian. >> reporter: the white house says it is another indication that the economy is starting to heal from some of the wounds
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inflicted by the economic downturn. vice president joe biden out speaking with middle class americans today said that the u.s. economy has turned the corner. he was very emphatic about that saying saying it is moving in a positive direction. at the same time, he was putting pressure on lawmakers to come to an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff. it was yet another white house effort to rally support around its approach to the fiscal cliff. joe biden sitting down with seven middle class americans worried about their taxes going up. >> these are hard working, serious americans who are playing by the rules, doing it all right, and struggling already in this economy. >> reporter: jobs numbers, proof the administration says that the president's economic policies are paying off. >> you see it in the retail industry, you see it in transportation. you see it in health care. and you see it in other sectors.
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you do see a continued movement that continues to show some positive growth. >> reporter: while cautioning the nation's economy is far from a full recovery, administration officials emphasize positive growth, suggesting it puts them in a stronger negotiating position with republicans. one senior administration official told cnn, quote, we shouldn't muck it up by raising taxes on the middle class or playing chicken with the debt ceiling. but one economist who advised senator john mccain, sees no advantage in these numbers for either side. >> i don't think this strengthens the president's hand, not sure it does much for the republicans either. the reality is this is like a bloop single on american workers that are 2 million runs behind. >> reporter: after a week of the president meeting with governors, middle class americans, tribal leaders to put pressure on lawmakers, jobs numbers seem unlikely to push both sides closer together. >> well, this isn't a progress report because there's no progress to report.
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when it comes to the fiscal cliff that's threatening our economy and threatening jobs, the white house has wasted another week. >> reporter: vice president biden was confident that this deal will get done because he's optimistic genetically. says if everyone can act like adults and can reach an agreement, the up side will be much greater than the down side. >> any indication when there might be a presidential meeting with the speaker? >> reporter: we don't know at all. there has been one phone call this week. white house aides saying so far they're not making announcements about meetings or phone calls. >> they need to meet to resolve this. maybe their teams and staffers could do some advance work but the clock is ticking. dan lothian, thank you. president obama's top campaign strategist is here in a few minutes. david axelrod did something today he hasn't done in decades. look at that, before and after. he's ready to challenge a member
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of cnn's political team to do the same thing. stand by. and take a look at this. we're going to tell you why the driver says she didn't stop outside the store. anncr: some politicians seem to think medicare and... social security are just numbers in a budget. well, we worked hard for those benefits. we earned them. and if washington tries to cram decisions about the future... of these programs into a last minute budget deal... we'll all pay the price. aarp is fighting to protect seniors with responsible... solutions that strengthen medicare and...
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violent protests breaking out again in egypt. kate bolduan is here monitoring those and other top stories. seems like they're not ending. >> doesn't look like they're letting up. in cairo, thousands of demonstrators broke through barricades of the egypt presidential palace and sprayed graffiti. demonstrators threw rocks at the home of mohamed morsi, furious over his decree expanding his
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powers, putting it beyond judicial review. the opposition is demanding he postpone a december 15 referendum on a draft constitution. critics fear the charter would help the islamist dominated government consolidate its power. an a powerful earthquake struck on japan's northeast coast today. 7.3 magnitude quake shook buildings in tokyo. looking at video there. it triggered a three foot tsunami wave. japan is still recovering from a massive earthquake you remember and tsunami that killed more than 15,000 people last year. wow. the owner of this jewelry store in georgia says it's a miracle no one was killed when this happened. a driver accidentally rammed her minivan into the store. she told police a cannister lodged against the gas pedal. flying glass hit customers, one woman had a deep cut in the back
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of her head. the store had $30,000 in damage, but thank goodness no one was seriously, seriously injured or killed. look at that, wolf. wow. >> terrible. be careful. president obama's top campaign strategist is here in "the situation room," getting ready, only a few minutes away. david axelrod, he did something today he hasn't done in decades. look at that, look at the mustache before, no mustache after. and guess what, he is ready to do something here in "the situation room." he is going to challenge a member of cnn's political team to do the same thing. initiated. neural speeds increasing to 4g lte. brain upgrading to a quad-core processor. predictive intelligence with google now complete. introducing droid dna by htc. it's not an upgrade to your phone.
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bp has paid overthe people of bp twenty-threeitment to the gulf. billion dollars to help those affected and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open, and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. and bp's also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger.
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one group of americans not taking the looming fiscal cliff sitting down, seniors, turning out in droves in washington with a strong warning to congress. lisa sylvester has details. >> wolf, the aarp is a powerful group in washington, it spent
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about $7.5 million on lobbying this year. but its real strength may be the grass roots efforts with a large number of senior volunteers, and right now their aim is to keep social security and medicare intact. jean has often traveled to washington from her colorado home. this time, the 70-year-old retiree is here as a volunteer with the aarp. she and other seniors are blanketing capitol hill with a single message, hands off. >> we're very concerned. we don't want medicare, medicaid, and social security to be used as part of deficit reducing bill in such a short period of time. >> the clock is winding down towards the fiscal cliff. once considered untouchable third rail, changes to social security and other so-called entitlements are now being seriously discussed. >> we really have not gun to talk about real entitlement reforms. the only way you have true
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avoidance where you have solution is to mix an appropriate amount of revenues with true entitlement reform. and until the debate moves to that point, there's no serious debate taking place. >> house republicans offered a framework that includes raising the medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 squeezing out savings from social security by changing the way inflation is calculated, and possible means testing that could disqualify wealthier, older americans from the medicare program. lawmakers insist any changes will be done gradually and will not impact current retirees, but that's not soothing the fears of seniors who say inflation adjustments will have an immediate impact. >> to tell somebody living on social security, and we have something in the order of one out of every three retirees relies on just social security for 90% or more of their income, to tell them sorry, we have to cut back your benefits because we have problems in the rest of the federal budget, that doesn't make sense for us. >> just to be clear, the senior
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lobby is a powerful, sophisticated organization, with offices in every state and volunteers ready to fly to washington at a moment's notice. but democrats and republicans aren't going to reach a compromise before the end of the month unless something gives. >> we are racking up levels of debt that's unprecedented in our history. we've got to do something. and if we don't, it's been very clear the credit agencies will downgrade us again. >> democrats are pushing back. more than 100 house members signed a letter they sent to john boehner saying take social security off the table. wolf? >> thanks very much. let's get to the strategy session. joining us, cnn contributor, republican strategist, alex cost tee and owes. also joining us, a clean shaven young man, obama campaign senior adviser david axelrod. >> newly shaven.
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>> we need to see some id. >> looks very handsome, don't you think? >> younger. >> younger, thinner. get to that in a moment. social security, should that be on the table now or not? >> i think republicans are saying look, let's put everything on the table. some support means testing, if you're above a certain income that maybe you don't need to take social security when we all think the program is going to be in serious trouble down the road. very few people supporting a growing base of people that are on social security. so to keep it strong, maybe it is something we should look at. >> right now? >> right now i think we have more urgent things to do. that's certainly something -- it is something to commit to address down the road. >> president bush tried it, didn't work out well for him. what do you think? 100 democrats wrote they don't want it on the table at all. including bernie sanders. >> i agree, that's not the most urgent matter. medicare is more urgent,
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something that needs to be addressed, the president has said it. republicans have said it as well. it is a question of how you do it, and do you do it in a way that preserves the program and protects beneficiaries. i think there are discussions to be had around that. obviously the discussion about what we do on the tax side, which is essentially getting a balanced package. >> the key issue seems to me involving marginal tax rates for the top 2%, right? right now, 35%. does it go up to 39.6%, where it was during the clinton administration, 37%. boehner says you know what, you can raise tax revenues by eliminating or capping loopholes or deductions. do it like that. the president awhile ago, about a year and a half ago said this. >> what we said was give us 1.2 trillion in additional revenues,
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which could be accomplished without hiking taxes, tax rates, but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions, and engaging in a tax reform process that could have lowered rates generally while broadening the base. >> that was july, 2011. so what has changed? he says then -- seems to be where boehner is now. raise tax revenue capping deductions, limiting loopholes, not raising tax rates. >> if you listen to the president's entire statement he said as part of a larger tax reform proposal. the fact is you can't get the revenues that are necessary simply by eliminating deductions, unless you want to whack the middle class, and that's not something we can afford to do now. let's also make the point, wolf, that everyone in america will benefit if we extend the tax
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cuts for, incomes under $250,000. you get the tax cut the first $250,000. but if we're going to deal with the debt problem, we have to do it in a balanced way. raising rates is part of what we need to do. >> one of the things republicans would tell you, when we created the bush tax cuts for everyone, including the wealthy, government revenues went up from 1.8 trillion to 2.5 trillion. >> 2001 and 2003? >> over a four-year period after bush tax cuts were put in place. why not stay with that, keep the economy growing. that's $700 billion in additional revenue. >> the whole thing could collapse. >> it is something we need to figure -- >> is it going to collapse the negotiations, are we going over the cliff because of marginal tax rates for the wealthy? >> we don't know what the republican party will do. >> if they're not raised. >> if they stick with their position, the president has made clear this is something that he believes is necessary. >> will the republicans stick with that?
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>> republicans really want to see a strong commitment from the administration for entitlement reform. i know the president is probably waiting for republicans to put an offer on the table on spending, on some serious spending cuts. if that gets on the table, and i think you have seen from both sides, it seems to be where the discussion is going, then i think you'll see flexibility on the republican side on taxes. >> stand by, guys. we have much more to discuss. some issues. when we come back, we're going to talk about david's new nonmustache look. and a special announcement about who might be next. stand by. investors like you? tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 schwab bank was built with all the value and convenience tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 investors want. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 like no atm fees, worldwide. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 and no nuisance fees. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 plus deposit checks with mobile deposit. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 and manage your cash and investments tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 with schwab's mobile app. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 no wonder schwab bank has grown to over 70 billion in assets. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 so if you're looking for a bank that's in your corner, tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 not just on the corner... tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 call, click or visit to start banking with schwab bank today. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550
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we are back with david
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axelrod and alex castellanos. we all watched this morning, something happened to you, you got rid of the mustache. we will show viewers some of that video. there you are. close shave, you were on morning joe today. how long did you have the mustache? >> 40 years. >> 40 years! >> i don't think i ever shaved it, when it grew in, i kept it. >> nobody knew you without a mustache. >> my wife hasn't seen me without a mustache. we were walking out, she said you know, i always hated that mustache, we have been married 33 years, now she mentions it. >> does she like you without it? >> she seems happy with it. more happy we raised a million dollars for epilepsy. >> why did you do this? >> i have a child's life terribly impacted by epilepsy that killed 50,000 a year and destroys many lives and quality of life for many people. and my wife started a foundation called citizens united for research in epilepsy to fund
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breakthrough research in epilepsy, and i made a wager on morning joe if i could raise a million dollars for epilepsy research by end november, i would shave off the mustache. we raised 1.5 million. >> wow. >> i was happy to. people have lost so much more impacted by epilepsy, a mustache seemed trivial, even a 40-year-old mustache. >> must have been a little nostalgia. >> let me say i was up all night, a little anxiety. turned out okay. >> have you seen alex's mustache? >> one of the things conflicted, i didn't want to leave my buddy alone in the world of mustaches. we were two of the more prominent mustaches. >> one of the things we had in common. >> but now he's made a very generous offer, and i am going to accept that offer. >> what is the offer, alex? >> we're going to try to raise more money for cure, such a wonderful charity. if we can raise another 500
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contributions between now and beginning of the year. >> right here in "the situation room." >> come back to "the situation room." >> too late, man, we jumped. >> we will show bipartisanship lives in washington. >> there will be a situation in "the situation room." >> how long have you had your mustache? >> i was about two or three years old. it is a cuban thing. >> you got that cuban heritage in you. that's a big deal to shave that. >> this is worse than taking away your cigars if you're a cuban, but it is such an important thing. david and i do have a lot in common. don't always agree on politics, but we're parents and wolf, you know, when david had his first child, lauren, this beautiful young girl, took her home, he and susan, and she started having convulsions, and she had as many as 20, 25 a day. and the doctors couldn't stop them. they went on like that for 20 years before research advanced and they found a way to provide
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some relief. epilepsy. that's what epilepsy is. and these are parents who have struggled with that. and they're remarkable people, remarkable friends, and remarkable parents. so many folks out there. >> any closer, david, to a cure? >> it is very complex, the brain is so complex. there are 40 different kinds of epilepsy. we're making advances every day. there are small discoverys that add up. the key is to think outside the box. cure provides seed money. the money we raise funds young investigators to keep them in the field as well as seasoned investigators all over the world. i am absolutely convinced the work they're doing will make a difference. i just want to amplify on something alex said. we have competed, we've battled. we don't agree on a lot of things. but there are things larger than
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politics and our common humanity is larger than politics and that binds us. i am so moved that he was willing to do this, not just to provide good programming for you, but to raise some money for this great cause. >> i want him to remind us, if viewers want to make a contribution, go to a website. think about that for a second. first, alex, make your point. >> you go to slashthestash.com. that's where you do it. if you're a republican and said for years washington doesn't have to do everything, it is time to step up, republicans. if you're a democrat wants to get rid of the thing, this could be your moment. also want to say many of us come to washington, we want to change the world, make it a little better. susan axelrod did. she started this charity, she put this together and she has grown this thing and it has made a difference. this is a very worthwhile effort here. >> thanks, alex. >> go to the site.
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>> viewers want to go to that site, make a contribution as they should do. we had it on the screen. >> thanks. thanks for what you're doing and thanks for what you're going to do. >> oh, man. >> getting emotional. learning new details about another major embarrassment for the secret service. some vital information lost for years. in the next hour, a terrible turn in the royal pregnancy story. a nurse that fell for a radio station's prank call apparently took her own life. people really love snapshot from progressive, but don't just listen to me. listen to these happy progressive customers. i plugged in snapshot, and 30 days later, i was saving big on car insurance. with snapshot, i knew what i could save before i switched to progressive. the better i drive, the more i save. i wish our company had something this cool. you're not filming this, are you? aw! camera shy. snapshot from progressive. test-drive snapshot before you switch. visit progressive.com today.
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we're learning about a new investigation of the united states secret service for what's
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being called an immense and embarrassing security breach. all sorts of sensitive information about employees and informants lost in a very public place. brian todd has been investigating this story for us. what are you finding? >> law enforcement and congressional sources tell us the secret service is being investigated for a potentially damaging loss of information. the data was on two backup computer tapes which contained very sensitive personal and investigative information, according to our sources, and it was left by a contractor on a train in washington's metro rail subway system. our sources say this occurred in february of 2008 but it is now the subject of investigation by department of homeland security's office of inspector general. that office is not commenting. our sources say the contractor was transporting the two tapes in a pouch from secret service headquarters in washington to a now closed data facility in maryland. at one point, the contractor got off the metro train, later realized the pouch had been left
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behind. the secret service and metro police were contacted, and an aggressive search took place. one source says the tapes have not been recovered. i spoke about this case with former fbi counterespionage agent eric o'neal. he was the agent that took down robert hanson, the fbi official that spied for the russians in the '80s and '90s. he spoke of the risk of this information getting out. >> some of the information could cause lives to be at risk if someone wanted to get at families of a high level government worker, or someone they perceived as could work against a terrorist cell. >> the secret service says that hasn't happened. a secret service official says no one at the agency or family members have been put in danger by the loss of information. the secret service says no fraud occurred as a result, and the agency refuses to characterize this as a breach. in a statement, secret service says, quote, these backup tapes were not marked or identified in any way and were protected by
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multiple layers of security. they could not be accessed without the proper equipment applications and encoding, and department of homeland security just told us there have been no reports they know of that any information was improperly accessed. the secret service says measures have been taken to make sure this type of incident can't happen again, wolf. >> were the tapes encrypted? >> we are getting conflicting information from all the law enforcement sources, some saying it was encrypted, some saying it was not. eric o'neal said even if it were, that would have been 2008 encryption. because of advances in the ability of hackers, anybody could get in this in moments if they got access to it if they know what they're doing. >> frightening when you think about the potential disaster it could have resulted in. thanks very much, brian. anyone that flies will want to stick around the next hour. we have an update on the push to let airline passengers use electronic gadgets during takeoff and landing. up next, a terrible turn in
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the royal pregnancy story. a nurse that took the prank call apparently took her own life. oh my goodness! oh my gosh, this looks amazing! [ male announcer ] our new maine stays! 15 entrees under $15, seafood, chicken and more! oo! the tilapia with roasted vegetables! i'm actually looking at the wood grilled chicken with portobello wine sauce. that pork chop was great! no more fast food friday's! we're going to go to red lobster. yep. [ male announcer ] come try our new menu and sea food differently! and introducing 7 lunch choices for just $7.99. salad, sandwiches, and more. share "not even close."
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ffor help finding a plan that's right for you, give unitedhealthcare a call today. a prank on the british royals has taken a horrifying turn. the nurse that first took the hoax call at the hospital where duchess catherine was being treated apparently has committed suicide. here is what the hospital is saying. >> we can confirm jacintha was recently a victim of a hoax call to the hospital. the hospital had been supporting her through this very difficult time. jacintha was a first class nurse
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who cared diligently for hundreds of patients during her time with us. everyone is shocked by the loss of a much loved person. >> bring in our royal correspondent, max foster. what do we know specifically about the suicide and the palace reaction. >> the reaction as you say, she was a well regarded nurse. everyone had nothing but good things to say. she died on her own. she has two children and a husband, but they live out of town so they weren't with her thankfully at the time of her death. certainly a well regarded nurse. people feeling terrible about the situation. started as a joke, certainly isn't a joke any more, this is what the palace says. royal highnesses were looked after so well by everybody at king edward vii hospital.
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after they issued that, they added to that, there's been so much talk around the story. said at no point did the palace complain to the hospital about the incident. on the contrary, offered full support to the nurses involved and the hospital staff, wolf, at all times. >> max, where do things stand with the deejays in australia that placed the prank call. >> well, there's lots of smoking in australia after the event. the hospital took it extremely seriously, it was a breach of patient confidentiality. what we now know, the two presenters told by the chief executive of the radio station decided they're not going to carry on in that role for now out of respect for jacintha. i have to say, there's been fierce reaction about the statement. many feel it was a bit disrespectful in itself, it was not very clear that this terrible tragedy occurred and actually they were part of that.
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>> you know how old this nurse was? >> reporter: don't know how old she was. there's lots of speculation. i am sticking to the facts that we know at this point. she had two children and a husband, suggested she's middle aged. i have to say, there's huge amounts of support for her online, two presenters that called the hospital behind me had their twitter accounts closed down, such a big reaction on those accounts. in the last hour, the radio station's facebook page has been closed down because you should have seen the comments on there, wolf. they were fierce, talk of the station having blood on its hands. it has been a huge reaction against the radio station as a result of what happened today. >> is there any indication that they're going to be taking steps to make sure this can never happen again? >> reporter: all the hospital said is they're going to review their calling system. what's interesting here, there has been speculation around, the
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nurse, she was a nurse, not a receptionist, was filling in on reception, certainly had expertise as a nurse, she put the call through to the ward. that should not have happened. the nurse on the ward answered questions, thinking the call had been checked. clearly it hadn't been. she felt the full force of the media pressure, although we didn't know her name until today. the hospital is simply saying it is going to look at its systems again. there is no chance kate could have been contacted directly and the hospital is leaving it as a palace matter. >> thank you. you're in "the situation room." happening now, an update on u.s. military plans amid new signs syrian regime could be on the brink of using chemical warfare. ar was damian is inside syria getting first hand reaction. would you like to be able to use a cell phone while flying? new information into "the situation room." and a jersey shore home survives superstorm sandy, but
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vanishes in the days afterwards. welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com the united states is now updating plans for a potential strike against syria due to intelligence showing the regime filled aerial bombs with deadly serin gas. barbara starr is getting new information from the pentagon, joining us with the latest. what is the latest on the disturbing development? >> wolf, let's emphasize, updating plans potentially if defense is ordered. for defense secretary leon panet
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panetta, the priority is to determine serious intent. with the u.s. now believing the syrian government has chemical filled bombs, cnn has learned the pentagon is secretly updating military strike options for president obama in the event he orders action. a senior u.s. official tells cnn a strike could be carried out with the ships and aircraft already stationed in the region. but planning is driven by the latest intelligence, which u.s. officials say shows sarin gas has been loaded into aerial bombs in at least two locations near air fields. syria seems to have crossed the line drawn by the president last august. >> a red line for us is we start seeing chemical weapons moved around or utilized. >> this week, that line shifted with warnings from the president, secretary of defense panetta, and others focusing on
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what happens if assad uses those weapons. >> these lines become pink lines, and they're not drawn with, you know, a fine pencil, and they move around a little. >> military options for striking syria spell out the case for why an attack might be called for. u.s. officials say there are multiple reports, more than just satellite imagery, confirming the aerial bombs. the regime is getting more desperate in recent days as fighting has raged around damascus, leading to worries al assad could order a deadly strike that could kill thousands. and unlike iraq before the u.s. war, syria's chemical weapons program is openly acknowledged by that government. >> these weapons are meant to be used only and strictly in the event of external aggression against the syrian republic. >> but the president will be warned of risks, civilians could be killed by a deadly release of
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gas if the sarin isn't all destroyed. syrian air defenses could bring down u.s. pilots if fighter jets are used. the regime could move its chemical weapons even minutes before an attack. and you know, wolf, if those weapons start moving around, they become less secure and that raises an additional dire consideration for the administration. they're watching around the clock to see if any terrorist groups are moving into these areas, trying to take advantage of all of this and seize control of that deadly arsenal. >> are we getting any indications that u.s. war ships or aircraft carriers might be moving in the eastern mediterranean, closer and closer towards syria? >> you know, not at the moment. for now, the u.s. navy and the air force, in fact, maintain a number of aircraft around the mediterranean, and as you well know, of course, in the persian gulf. there are also u.s. war ships in the region regularly that can
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launch tomahawk missiles that are guided precisely to targets anywhere they're programmed to go, so if this became an extremist situation, the fire power is on hand. the military's updating the options, ready to give them to the president if he asks for them, wolf. >> barbara starr, thank you. and arwa joins us from syria. we know the u.s. updated plans if president assad uses chemical weapons. are the syrians, folks you talk to in northern syria, civilians, the rebels, are they ready for some sort of potential chemical strike? >> reporter: no, put quite simply, they are not. there's nothing that the population can do to defend itself. this is a population that has struggled at best to even try to defend itself against the bullets, artillery, bombs. when it comes to a chemical weapon, there's nothing that
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they can do. that is why this is such a terrifying possibility. people are aware the u.s. called it a red line, but that has been met with quite a fair amount of cynicism because they say that the u.s. has issued a red line warning in the past and they haven't felt repercussions from that. people are frustrated, angry, terrified at america's position when it comes to the syrian uprising. they feel as if the u.s. abandoned them to their fate. many of them are asking the question why is the u.s. saying chemical weapons are a red line. what about the 40,000 plus that have died. >> it is an amazing, shocking story. you manage to get aroundal especially oh, around northern syria. awhile ago you filed this report. let me play it for our viewers. >> reporter: it is hard to fully absorb the scale of the
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devastation here, how entire buildings seem to have folded down upon themselves. then one continues to see traces of the lives of the civilians that called these buildings home, like the clothing that's hanging right there, or children's books, like this one, the pages of it we picked up from the rubble. but this conflict can be surreal. just a couple of blocks away, the local barbershop is open, as are a handful of other stores. women crowd around us, eager to talk, but not be filmed. both sides have hurt us, wronged us, one says. basic supplies are available here, although prices have skyrocketed. bread, bread, we want it so badly, it's like a drug this woman tells us. if someone has breakfast, they can't afford dinner. please have mercy, they beg.
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on the street, we meet four boys. they ask if we think it is safe enough for them to go back home. they talk of tanks firing and seeing other children lose limbs. they say what they've witnessed has made them all decide to be doctors, to save the victims of war. >> arwa is still with us. when the folks in syria hear you're from cnn, what's their basic message to you, specifically to the united states, to president obama? i'm sure they've got some words they want to share. >> reporter: they most certainly do. they want to know why it is that the u.s. has effectively stayed silent so long, they want to know why the u.s. is not supporting the syrian opposition, why the u.s. allowed the conflict to degenerate to such degree now they deal with islamist groups. they want to know why the u.s. seems to be okay with the fact that so many people have died so
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far and allowed the suffering to really continue, because even when it comes to humanitarian aid, for example, there's very little of that that's actually coming in. this issue of the rising cost of living, i cannot express how dire it has become. there are great concerns there are going to be riots over bread. we were down at one of the bakeries earlier in the day where the mob was around us, very angry, saying enough, stop filming, you americans, the world, you're watching our misery and you're mocking it. that's how desperate the situation here has become. and there is this growing sense of anger and frustration that's being directed at america and at the west because by not somehow doing something that is going to end the violence, people view the united states as being as culpable for the deaths taking place as the assad government itself, wolf. >> and it is hard breaking to see your reports, read your tweets, arwa, when you talk
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about young kids on the verge of starving now because they simply don't have enough food. take us a little in depth. >> reporter: well, we were at one household, for example, and there were around 14 children crammed into it, ages six months up to ten. the reason there were so many children, it was two families merging into one tiny little two bedroom home because their homes have been destroyed, they had been forced to live together in these incredibly cramped conditions. wolf, these children hadn't had a meal in 24 hours. one of the fathers went to the bakery, waited nine hours, was unable to get a loaf of bread. other children in the streets, begging to a level you would never have seen in syria before all of this began, now whenever we park our car, whenever they see somebody, children swarm around, asking for a little bit of money for a piece of bread. >> arwa damons on the scene.
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we will check back with you. obviously be careful. thanks so much. north korea on the verge of launching an unprecedented second long range rocket this year. what it could reveal about stability in the country's mysterious regime. and pot smoking may now be legal in washington state, but is washington, d.c. about to get involved? just ahead, we have details whether the federal government may be ready to step in. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] everyone deserves the gift of all day pain relief. this season, discover aleve.
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call now and also ask about our 24/7 support and service. call... and lock in your rate for 12 months today. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? the latest jobs report coming as a surprise to some analysts, despite superstorm sandy, the u.s. economy added 146,000 jobs for november, with unemployment rate of 7.7%, down from 7.9% in october, and it is the lowest unemployment rate since december, 2008. let's talk about it with our chief national correspondent, john king, and chief political correspondent, candy crowley, anchor of cnn's "state of the union."
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thanks for coming in. i don't know if you saw "the wall street journal article today saying maybe we're paying too much attention to the november jobs numbers right now. did you see that piece? >> i did, and sure. every month if you pay attention to one month, you pay too much attention. you think one month tells you the full scope of the united states economy, what was it like for a year, where is it going next year. more importantly, you have a couple months of modest if not a little better than modest jobs growth. so you have somewhat encouraging news. there are things to look at in the monthly report that are discouraging, people leaving the labor markets, uncertain about the future. you have the rate going down, somewhat more optimism in terms of the jobs market as congress faces choices on the fiscal cliff. >> how does it play into fiscal cliff negotiation? >> you would think it gives them a sobering sense of if we do the right thing, maybe the economy keeps growing, if we do the wrong thing, might tip the united states. some think even the possibility of another global recession. you would think it would be a motivation to get things done. if you listen to what's said
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publicly, see if they're working out a deal privately, there are staff level conversations but most of the big voices dug in. >> you had a fascinating interview with the head of the international monitoring fund, it will air sunday on "state of the union." let me play a clip. what happens in fiscal cliff negotiations in washington could have a huge impact around the world. >> there's still that degree of uncertainty that fuels doubt, that prevents investors, entrepreneurs, households from making decisions because they don't know what tomorrow will be. they know that a fix has been found for today but there is still work to be done tomorrow and day after tomorrow. so it would be much better to actually have a more comprehensive approach and to deal with all of the issues. >> and americans should realize what happens around the world. we export so much, so many american jobs are dependent on how the economies in europe,
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asia are doing that they're watching this very closely. >> absolutely. one of the things she said i found interesting, first of all as you heard, she says listen, the idea of let's have the middle class tax rates remain the same, work the rest out next year, we need a big approach here, precisely because it does effect so many other economies in the global economy. she was less bullish on the idea that greece or spain or anybody else in trouble might effect the u.s. economy. she said, you know, the problem with the u.s. is internal, and it becomes a world problem. >> what do you think about the supreme court, they're now going to consider california's proposition 8, consider same sex marriage in the united states. >> i think it raises obviously to the highest court in the land a question that has bounced around the states with different verdicts. you have had a lot of states had constitutional amendments banning same sex marriage, california said yes, then has said no. you had for the first time the past election a couple states pass it in a statewide
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referendum, when previously when it was on the ballot it had gone down. this is a question that has had different answers in some states, and some states different answers different times within the same state. the supreme court providing a road map is helpful, if you want a 50 state solution. the question is is that what the constitution calls for. >> and will they provide it. >> the president personally supports now same sex marriage. he didn't used to. now he does. will the obama administration make the argument in favor of same sex marriage before the supreme court? >> my guess is that they may well be a friend of the court and doxactly that. i mean, you know, what everyone is hoping for, folks i talked to today, on the side of legalizing in a federal way same sex marriage is, you know, this would settle it. what they worry about is you'll get a decision that's kind of like murky. >> and you have a huge split even with the conservative movement, the dick cheney approach, each state should
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decide. grass roots groups want a ban. this divides both sides of the debate. see what the court says. >> should know by june when the supreme court adjourns for the summer. candy, see you sunday, 9:00 a.m., noon eastern. >> thanks. >> john, thank you. a seat cushion is all that's left of one man's home after superstorm sandy. but it wasn't the storm that obliterated his house. stand by, see a devastating story here in "the situation room." that beat? campbell's healthy request soup lets you hear it... in your heart. [ basketball bouncing ] heart healthy. great taste. mmm... [ male announcer ] sounds good. it's amazing what soup can do. cool, you found it. wow. nice place. yeah. [ chuckles ] the family thinks i'm out shipping these. smooth move. you used priority mail flat-rate boxes. if it fits, it ships for a low, flat rate. paid for postage online and arranged a free pickup. and i'm gonna track them online, too. nice. between those boxes and this place, i'm totally staying sane this year.
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tis the season. for food, for family, and now, something extra -- for you. washington state is the first state in the country to let pot smokers light in legally, but a show down could lie ahead with the federal
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government, which is vowing to enforce drug laws. our crime and justice correspondent joe johns is standing by with details. there seems to be a little war going on between the states, at least two states, colorado and washington state, and the federal government. >> absolutely. and we don't know how it is going to work out, wolf. they may be lighting up all over washington state, but this is not a settled legal issue. the federal government already has authority to start locking people up right now, it is just not clear whether, how, or when it is going to use that power. there was euphoria the moment pot became legal in washington state, but 3,000 miles away in washington, d.c., the justice department and the white house are reviewing how the federal government should respond. at the moment, they're sticking to this statement from the u.s. attorney in seattle, washington, who would prosecute violations there. regardless of the state law, growing, selling or processing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. the department's responsibility
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to enforce controlled substances act remains unchanged. several former doj officials that spoke to cnn said that likely won't be the end of it. former attorney general under president george w. bush alberto gonzales laid out the options facing eric holder and the justice department. option one, lock the users up. >> go into washington state, arrest and prosecute those in possession of marijuana, then wait for the defendant to say wait a minute, you know, i've got state law says it is not unlawful. at that point, they can raise preemption and say the federal government laws preempt state law in this regard. >> option two. fight it out in the courts. >> sue the state of washington and state of colorado, take them to court, and say outright that in this field the federal government has preempted and that the law has to fall. >> option three. cut off federal money to law enforcement. >> simply start withholding
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federal grants to the state because of the fact that they're not helping the state enforce federal law. >> gonzales didn't mention option four, do nothing. listen to former federal prosecutor mark osler. >> i think they should stand back. i think the best course of action here is to employ prosecutorial discretion. let the states do what they will. >> why would the obama administration balk at enforcing federal laws on the books for decades? there's the political consideration. >> here are two states went for president obama. colorado was in fact a swing state. the people of those states have spoken. for the federal government now to come in and say we want to quarterba quash your mandate, there's precedent for that. it is legal in 18 states and district of columbia. don't think even medical marijuana is exempt from
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possible department of justice scrutiny, a case decided by the supreme court during bush administration saying the feds can go after that, too. president obama said earlier this year we're not going to be legalizing weed any time soon. >> this case could go up to the united states supreme court as well. >> absolutely. what you started out with, this idea of states rights versus federal government prerogatives is a real clash, not even in the court are you going to get necessarily one voice. >> see what happens on this one. thanks very much. the house speaker, john boehner, says the ball is in president obama's court to prevent the so-called fiscal cliff. but is he hinting at new room for compromise on hiking taxes on america's richest? [ male announcer ] this december, remember -- ♪
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fiscal cliff. what the speaker didn't say in a news conference today could potentially be very significant. let's bring in our senior congressional correspondent, dana bash. >> reporter: reckless was the strong word the speaker used to describe timothy geithner's statement that he is willing to go over the cliff if republicans don't give on tax rates for the wealthy. i am told by a congressional source familiar with the talks they only had four, four staff level negotiations on the issue of the fiscal cliff, and that's why the speaker says the president is slow walking the issue. the house speaker ended the week with a progress report. none. >> when it comes to the fiscal cliff that's threatening our economy and threatening jobs, the white house has wasted another week. >> reporter: he and the president spoke by phone only once all week and it didn't produce much. >> just more of the same. it is time for the president if
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he's serious to come back with a counteroffer. >> reporter: what may have been most notable was what boehner did not say. he did not repeat his demand to keep tax cuts for the wealthy in place, the biggest issue that divides them. instead, when asked, he said this. >> there are a lot of things are possible to put the revenue the president seeks on the table, but none of it is going to be possible if the president insists on his position, insists on my way or the highway. >> reporter: aides to boehner and the president who are doing the negotiating are tight lipped, but other congressional sources suggest some possible compromise scenario on the tax rate issue. one, instead of raising the current rate from 35% to the prebush era tax rate of 39.6 as the president wants, pick a middle ground, say 37%. another, since republicans are so concerned about small businesses getting hit by increased rates, follow a bipartisan senate proposal from
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democrat claire mccaskill and republican, susan collins, now endorsed by olympia snowe. republicans are well aware they're losing the public opinion battle over raising rates for the wealthy. all week, boehner tried to turn it around by making the president look unreasonable. >> the president has adopted a deliberate strategy to slow walk our economy right to the edge of the fiscal cliff. >> reporter: a republican and democrat that were top congressional aides for years on opposite sides of many high stakes negotiations. >> when you have a negotiation, you have to fill the public space with communication, images of what your leaders are standing for. >> reporter: but manly, the democrat, says the president's perspective this time is different. >> the president and his team finally came to the realization they can't negotiate with hostage takers, and they learned lessons from the debt limit
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debacle last year. >> reporter: on that point, although the speaker is saying over and over this week, wolf, that the president has to give him a counteroffer for negotiations to get going again, democratic sources involved in talks say they don't see it happening. don't see the president coming back to republicans at all until republicans signal privately or publicly that they're willing to give on those tax rates for the wealthy. on that note, i said in my piece the speaker was very interesting to note he still wants to keep tax rates low, in the press conference, after the press conference, he released a statement saying opposition to tax rate increases has not and will not change. very careful wording though, his opposition won't change. doesn't mean he doesn't understand with the art of compromise, he might have to compromise on that. >> don't have a lot of time to compromise, next week critically important in this entire issue. thanks, dana. with washington showing no signs yet the fiscal cliff could be averted, fears for what could
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be at stake escalate across the united states. cnn's ted rowlands has a look at one midwestern city that could get hit particularly hard. >> reporter: wolf, rock island, illinois has a population of about 30,000 people. it is one of the quad cities. it sits along the mississippi river. if congress allows the country to go over the fiscal cliff, the effects felt here could be dramatic. first and foremost, there's the rock island arsenal. if congress doesn't act, defense spending will be slashed by 55 billion next year, 450 billion over ten years, which many fear could put the arsenal in jeopardy. established in 1862, the arsenal is home to the army sustainment command, the first army, and the national cemetery. it's also the largest government run military manufacturing facility in the country. the arsenal is the area's
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largest employer, and though it is not clear how any cuts would impact the installation specifically, the mere prospect has people worried. >> there's approximately 8,000 jobs on arsenal island with various commands located there, and the average salary, not including benefits is about double on the island what it is off island. >> reporter: next, health care, another major employer in the quad cities. if congress doesn't act, medicare reimbursements will initially drop by 2%. trinity medical center in rock island is already budgeting for the fiscal cliff. >> we have the 2% budget reduction in the budget next year and are not planning across the board job cuts. any dramatic cuts where we have to start looking at the number of people we employ has significant effect on this community. >> reporter: other possible fiscal cliff cuts that could hit rock island include the army corps of engineers, they're here in part to manage locks along the mississippi. there's cuts to public education, which the national
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school board association say could have profound impact if congress doesn't act. and potential cuts to social services. more than 12% of rock island's population lives below the poverty line. and of course, there are tax hikes. at theo's coffee shop, people have a lot to say about washington, d.c. and the fiscal cliff. james cheeks says he is counting on congress to prevent his taxes from going up. >> scary. you know, it's scary. where is that money going to come from, you know, how am i going to pay that extra tax hike. >> reporter: one booth over, ted and gus say they don't think congress can avoid the cliff. >> i hope so, but i don't see it yet. >> if we're going to have standoffs, have that do nothing congress, it is going to be awfully toug to get anything done. >> reporter: potential effects of the fiscal cliff in rock island, illinois aren't necessarily any better or worse than in other cities around the country. the bottom line is if congress
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fails to act, repercussions will be felt across the country. wolf? >> ted rowlands in rock island, illinois. imagine being able to use your ipad, cell phone in the air whenever you want. up next, we have details on a new government effort under way now to keep you plugged in all the time, including on takeoff and landing, while flying. stand by. ♪ many hot dogs are within you. try pepto-bismol to-go, it's the power of pepto, but it fits in your pocket. now tell the world daniel... of pepto-bismol to-go. britta olsen is my patient. i spend long hours with her checking her heart rate, administering her medication, and just making her comfortable. one night britta told me about a tradition in denmark, "when a person dies," she said, "someone must open the window so the soul can depart." i smiled and squeezed her hand.
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do you hate turning off your ipad and other gadgets when you board a flight? the faa is looking at allowing some electronic devices.
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>> mobile phones and electronic devices should be turned off. >> reporter: if you're a flyer, you heard the warning. for travelers like brandon that like to stay connected, it doesn't sit well. >> laptop. ipad. ipad keyboard. headphone. >> reporter: that's a lot. >> adds some weight to the bag. >> reporter: they are encouraging faa to allow increasing use during flights. >> it is a rule, what are you going to do. >> reporter: the they say mobile devices empower people to stay informed and connected with friends and family and enable large and small businesses to be more productive and efficient. it is a government effort to balance what passengers want and safety concerns. airline pilots can use ipad flight manuals, begging the question, if they can, why can't we? >> when we use this device, all of the transmission capability
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is turned off. the problem in the cabin is that there's so many possible combination of personal devices, cell phones and ipads, that the industry hasn't come up with an acceptable test standard to truly determine if in those infinite combinations there's interference. >> reporter: a recent study noted 75 instances in which consumer electronics were suspected of disrupting airplane systems. some are skeptical. >> i don't think it really effects the planes any. so i look at it as an optional rule, if that makes sense. >> i think someone needs to prove to me it is really an issue. i don't know if it's true or not. >> reporter: carl beer sack with a cell phone advocacy group wants to take it a step further. >> people do more than ipad and nook. they actually want to talk to someone, that's what a cell phone is about. >> reporter: and wolf, right now, there are about 20
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international airlines that allow cell phone usage. it is hard to say if and when this will happen domestically. many passengers say they're just not interested in it. >> tori dunn. thank you very much. north korea is planning a second long range rocket launch. what could it reveal about the country's new mysterious leaders. stand by. bill richardson will join us. why do toys for tots and hasbro trust duracell to power their donated toys? duralock power preserve. it locks in power for up to 10 years in storage. guaranteed. duracell with duralock. trusted everywhere. without freshly-made pasta. you could also cut corners by making it without 100% real cheddar cheese. but then...it wouldn't be
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a lot of eyes on the korean peninsula. u.s. war ships are moving into position. japan is getting ready to
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patriot reate defense missiles. chris lawrence, what's going on? >> between our sources and satellite images, we know fuel trucks are on the launch site, rocket stages are being assembled, and that north korea's launch window opens 5:00 sunday, a little less than 48 hours from now. we also know the u.s. navy is in the process moving up to four ships into position. mostly to monitor the launch. but if fragments veer off course, they would be in position to defend some of our allies in the region. also due to that concern, japan is also mobilizing a couple patriot missile batteries, only in the event it has to shoot down fragments that veer over japanese territory. right now, from what we know, we expect the launch to follow the sameath mostly as its failed launch in april. in that case, take a look. it would fly south, not east
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over japan. if it works, the first stage of the rocket would fall somewhere off the coast of south korea. the second stage of the rocket would fall in the philippines or near the philippines. a satellite is light weight compared to a one ton nuclear war head, but a lot of technology used to put a satellite in orbit is the same technology you can use to develop long range ballistic missiles. >> because that failed launch in april, what, it stayed in the air less than a minute or so, are they basically trying to do the same thing now that they failed to do then? >> there's a lot of speculation about that and a lot of experts think that this is a very quick turn around. that launch lasted, went so quickly, there was very little chance to learn much of anything from it. there's a possibility there was one failed part that the north koreans identified. some speculate that they timed
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their launches in accordance with certain events. in this case, we're coming up on the one year anniversary of the death of kim john-il, so that could be a motivator for this. but a lot of experts say because of the technology involved and the difficulty in getting the launches to succeed, trying to time them to specific historical events is usually not a good way to go about things, wolf. >> chris lawrence, thanks. let's dig deeper with former ambassador to the united nations, bill richardson. i traveled with him to north korea exactly two years ago. ambassador, you have been to north korea a few times. what's the motive here, what are the north koreans trying to achieve? >> well, anybody that speaks with certainty about north korea totally unpredictable state, here are three scenarios that i potentially see. one, the new leader, kim jong-un wants to send a message
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domestically that he presides over a powerful military and space operation. secondly, that that space launch failed and this one will not. another reason might be the presidential elections in south korea, which are december 19th. maybe they want to influence or disrupt them. the third is the traditional north korea action to get attention. here we are. we've been out of the headlines, middle east, gaza, rockets there, we're back. and this is what we're capable of doing. those are the three potential reasons that i see. one most likely being kim jun jung-il. he wants to show his people that he governs a powerful nation that wants to show it's nation. >> he is approaching, as chris
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said, the first anniversary of his rule. how should the international community react when this launch takes place, assuming it's successful. >> i would say the launch will happen. obviously, it's a test of missile technology. the international community, the security council, will invoke more sanctions, the united states and south korea will pursue individual sanctions, it's an act of defiance, but i have said before on your program, that there is something about this guy that may be educated in the united states,
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educated in switzerland. talking about reuniting the talks. make he is testing himself to be able to international seek reconciliation with the six party countries of the united states. that's my hope, but when of the things you learn about north korea is never predict what they will do next. >> a lot of people have studies kim jung-un, and some say he is open to some moderation, changes, others say he will be hardlined like his father, what do you think? >> i would offer this is a more pragmatic, open minded, he was educated in the west, he speaks english, possibly another language. he is a leader. you see him talking to his people with more comfort. he was open about the failure of
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the last launch. i'm not advocating for him, i'm just saying -- i just think this guy may be different, and we have to be very sensitive about what he does. if he does take this action, it's going to bring consequences from the international community. >> quickly, if he fails, if this launch fails, what does that do to his rule? >> well, it hurts him domest domestically. it shows in the areas of military and missile technology, he is trying to say this is a peaceful use that he is expanding his space capability. it will hurt internally. as long as he keeps the support of the military, that seems to be backing him very strongly, and as long as he keeps the backing of the politically elite there, he will not be seriously
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challenged. >> thank you for your expertise. >> thank you. >> he saw his house in a photo just days after superstorm standee. ♪
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this is just coming into the "situation room." the white house is questioning $60.4 billion for states affected by superstorm sandy. mary snow how as the unbelievable story of one man whose home survived the storm's wrath, but not what came next. >> reporter: you see one mangled
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home after another. this area was so hard hit, that residents are only allowed back in every three days to reclaim their possessions. that's a lot more than one man got after he returned home to find out that his home had been bu bulldozed, and he had not had the chance to reclaim anything. >> this is what you came home to two weeks after the storm. >> nick expected devastation, but not this. a seatcushion is all that's left of his family's summer home. two weeks after sandy, maria and his neighbors were finally allowed back into the area. but his house had been bulldozed. >> everyone else was here that week, that day, and i felt like a lost soul. everybody is taking clothing out, bringing their luggage, taking pictures out, whatever they could stuff in, and i had nothing to take. that was a shock.
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>> a long with shock came frustration over a lack of answers. it turned out the state's department of transportation bulldozed approximately two dozen homes. the dot shows us this photo of a house in the street rammed against maria's house. the decision to bulldoze homes was done with heavy hearts. it was pushed off it's foundation and thrown against another house that had come to rest in the middle of the street. our crews with local officials, law enforcement, and state police, fully aware, monitoring our actions, realized we had no choice but to remove both structures for public safety. >> this police chief says he was not aware of which homes were being knocked down, but that
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about 20 homes were. some questions include it was such a danger it had to be knocked down immediately. >> i think the concern comes about where the house was located, obviously, and certainly, if it's your house or anyone's house, you would like to get whatever valuables you can out of it. as for maria, with the summer home he built 15 years ago for his family, he doesn't know what's next. >> it's hart not knowing what happened, and they took my control away. they could have called me up. maria says he's looking into hiring an attorney, but he says he's not really sure he can even take legal action. the police chief says he's looking into two similar
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complaints. mary snow, cnn. happening now, the fiscal cliff hanger, will the new job's report convince the president or the house speaker to start compromising. and same sex marriage on the line. the justice's eagerly awaited announcement, and the secret service is under investigation for a shocking security breach. sensitive information left on a train. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." a analyst warn that you need to big under the headlines to get a better sense of the economy right now. hired continues to grow at a modest pace, 146,000 jobs were added this month, better than economists expected. and unemployment fell to 7.7%. here is the catch. more than a third of the jobs
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added were in retail, and many of them may vanish after the holidays, and the drop in the unemployment rate was mainly due to the fact that 350,000 people simply gave up looking for work. let's bring in jim acosta. jim, will these jobs numbers have any impact on the stand off over the so-called fiscal cliff. >> wolf, they might. the new job's report could give the president leverage on his push to raise taxes. as one gop congressional source put it, it would be hard for anyone to argue that the republicans have the upper hand. >> all of the folks around the table here -- >> campaigning like the election is around the corner, joe bideen sat down with some guests to eat dinner. this is no time to add any
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additional burden on middle class people. as the old expression used to go, this ain't rocket science. after superstorm sandy did not even the blow to the jobs market they feared, administration officials are sounding confident. >> there could be changes, but for all intents and purposes, this report looks to me like a steady report. >> as for the fiscal cliff, there appears to be a momentary break in the clouds when john boehner said he would be open to a tax rate increase on wealthier americans, just what the president wants. >> there are a lot of things possible, but none of it will be possible if the president insists on his position, insists on my way or the highway. hours later boehner put out a statement saying as i've said many, many, many times, i oppose
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tax rate increases because it cost american jobs. that has not changed and will not change. democrats say that just won't work. >> could it be because the republicans are holding the middle income tax cuts, as they have all along, hostage to tax cuts for the wealthy. >> after a week where republicans and the house and senate signal a willingness, one senator came up with another solution. >> all of the republicans in the house vote present, let democrats raise taxes as high as they want, let the president sign it and they can own a tax increase. >> the uncertainty over the increase could stop it dead in it's tracks. we've seen a number of companies say it's not their we're firing, it's just delayed, and that's important, because
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delays, you don't want hesitation. >> reporter: as for that statement released by the speaker, he says he will not block a vote on raising tax rates on wealthier americans. the white house has the upper hand, says the president has more to lose if the nation goes over the can cliff. >> jim akos that, now to the u.s. supreme court's big announcement that it will take up the issue of same sex marriage in the united states. a big story, wolf. the justices will hear two cases. one, challenging california's ban on gay marriage, and another defining marriage between only a man and a woman. jeff, this is not only a big deal, but this is also some complex legal questions here. what do you think is a realistic outcome as the justices will be
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taking this up some time next year. one great reporter said justices are not taking up one be question, it's arriving in stages. >> they are, and the two cases are very different from each other. the defensive marriage act case that comes from new york state, that has to do with the federal law passed in 1996 that says that the federal government will not recognize same sex marriages even in states where it's legal. that's a case where i think it is very likely to find a sympathetic hearing from anthony kennedy who has been sympathetic to gay rights in his earlier opinions. the proposition eight case has been a wild card. potentially, that's a case about whether every state in the union has to allow same sex marriage. there are different ways the
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court could decide the case, but that raises the possibility of a guarantee of marriage equality in the whole country. >> and you're an expert on the justices on the court, what's your sense of their past cases and how they looked at past issues, how does that inform how they will take on this case? >> i think it's a lot easier to look at past performance when it comes to the defensive marriage act case. that's a case about state's rights, whether states can define their own definitions of marriage, it's also a case about whether the federal government can discriminate, effectively, against gay people. if you look at anthony kennedy's record on gay rights and state's rights, he would be very sympathetic to the states that want to protect same sex marriage. other cases are much tougher to predict how they would come out.
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that is a tough call. >> as you know, nine states already, plus the district of columbia, already allow same sex marriage. how would supreme court decisions affect them? >> those nine states, they will not be affected in terms of whether they can allow same sex marriage. that's not raised by this case. what is raised is what rights the people in those states have. for example, under the internal revenue code, they're not now allowed to file joint federal tax returns. that's one of the key issues in the defensive marriage act case. they will certainly be allowed to remain married no matter what happens. the proposition eight case raises the possibility that same sex couples in other states, as well as those nine, will be able to get married. that would be the broadest
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possible decision. that's not clear how the court will come out. >> we expect them to make a decision by june next year. thank you jeff toobin, let's go to egypt right now, demonstrators broke through barriers to get into his palace in cairo. the anger is only intensifying after he vowed to punish those responsible for the violence. reza sayah has more. >> we're here in tahrir square, hostly peaceful with the exception of some violence including an attack on the president's house. the big story tonight is the potential of compromise. tonight, the president released a statement that could be, could be viewed by the opposition as a concession. in his statement, he says he's
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willing to post opponent the nationwide referendum, but he want as guarantee, that if he delays the vote, he will not be challenged by the court. is it a genuine effort to reach a compromise, or was it something else? the reaction was mixed in tahrir square. >> i don't believe him. >> reporter: you don't believe him? he's saying he will consider delaying him. you don't believe him? >> no. >> reporter: what is he trying to do? >> he is trying to calm down the people and do his best to make every egyptian satisfied. >> reporter: and you think it's a positive step? >> yes. >> reporter: he says he's willing to delay the referendum, what do you think? >> it's too late, we don't want any conversations, please, go.
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>> reporter: some encouraged by the president's statement, but there is still so much mistrust on both sides, that some supporters call the president's statement a plot, a trick. we should briefly explain why the president is asking for immunity. in egypt, once a draft constitution is introduced, you have 15 days to vote on it. wolf, the ball now seems to be in the oppositions court. will they receive this offer, or will the conflict continue? that's the big question. >> everything i read about what's going on in egypt, reza, saying if it does take place on the 15th, it will be passed. >> reporter: yeah, one thing we should tell our viewers is that the muslim brotherhood is a powerful and well organized
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movement. president morsi was elected president by a small margin, and many believe this constitution will pass on december 15th if it takes place. >> keyword if, thank you very much. cnn learned that the united states is secretly updating it's strike options in syria. the planning is driven by the latest intelligence showing that syria loaded arian bombs with a deadly gas. they could use ships and aircraft already stationed there. what happened for this apparent suicide, and government workers storm the capital, and they say their rights are being taken away. >> it's going to hurt the economy, hurt the state, and the citizens. this is absolutely not what's right for the worker. [ male announcer ] introducing...
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michigan is on track right now to pass the employee rights act. hi wolf and kate. here in michigan, this is the heart of organized labor in america. it's the birthplace of the united autoworkers, but the future of unions is in question at this hour. the fight over labor unions in michigan is vocal and physical. thousands of protestors stormed the capital trying to stop the right to work bills. the measures were introduced and passed in a single day, rushed through, democrats argue, calling it a subversion of the legislative process. >> it terrifies me they're
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trying to pass it through so quickly with no discussion, no understanding of what's important in it. >> the measured would make it illegal for unions and employers to mandate employees joining a union or pay any money to a union. >> i don't view it as anti-union. >> i was told it was anti-worker saying it gives workers less of a choice, what do you say to that? >> that is back ward, this is about being proworker. >> governor schnider's legislation is anti-worker and it will be a devastating blow to the middle class here. >> the three bills impact both public and private sector workers from teachers to auto workers. opponents say they limit workers rights, benefits, and wages. >> if you pay me less money, if i have to work for minimum wage,
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i can't go spend that money. >> it's going to hurt the economy, the state, and the citizens, this is absolutely not what's right for the worker. >> but supporters including governor snider said the economy improved in other states when they passed similar laws. >> that's thousands of jobs, hopefully it creates a lot more jobs here in michigan. >> opponents will spend the weekend trying to convince their representatives to vote down the bills that come come up for vote as early as tuesday. thank you, poppy. an unprecedented sweep of calendars, posters, and photos. a shocking air force inspection to crack down on sexual harassment in the united states military. [ male announcer ] research suggests cell health plays a key role throughout our lives.
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an unprecedented inspection of air force work spaces is under way. wait until you hear what they're looking for, chris lawrence, this has been happening across the entire air force, right? >> yes, kind of unprecedented, they're going through all of the work spaces, and looking for images that would objectify women. calendars, and pop so officials got so many complaints from so many female airmen, even some men, that the jokes and sexual innuendo made them so
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uncomfortab uncomfortable, and they felt they could not say anything without getting into trouble. not getting into people's personal computers or lockers, but any place public people are working, they want to go through and get the material out of there. >> what's the big picture here? it's not just about professionalism? >> no, it's about sexual assault. the air force wants to have about 700 cases of sexual assault this year, 100 more this year. one of the cases was so bad, it may have, you know, more than 20 alleged perpetrators, and more than 50 victims in that one case. it was so bad that the air force instituted a wing man policy. none of the trainees can go outside their dormitories without someone else with them. some of the critics say it would be the effect of cnn telling you the only way that you can be
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safe, kate, is to take someone with you when ever you leave the news room. the air force isn't saying every time you see an image on a calendar or picture of a naked woman correlates to sexual assault, but they want to make sure if there is a link in some of the cases, they want to sever it will right now. thank you, chris lawrence. >> the ausm joult come of a ♪
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and david axlerod takes it off, and challenges ool politician to do the same. the radio djs behind a brprk on the british royals have blood on their hand. >> the nurse that first took the call at the hospital has apparently committed suicide. here is what the hospital is saying. >> we can confirm that she was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. the hospital had been supporting here through this very difficult time. she was a first class nurse who cared for hundreds of patients during her time with us. everyone is shock and loss of a loved colleague. >> what's been the reaction, first of all, from the royal
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family? >> they updated their statement. the royal highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well at all times at the hospital, says the palace, and their thoughts and prayers are with jacintha and her family and friends at this time. there's a separate statement that followed that, because there is so much talk around the story, and they said at no point did the palace complain to the hospital about the incident. i have to say, there is a real sense of tragedy here. you see nurses in tears in this community. we just spoke to someone who works at another hospital, who put flowers where the body was found. very, very emotional. >> where do things stand with
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these two australian radio disjockeys that placed this prank call. >> they're under attack. they really, really tough wording, blood on their hands is a phrase that keeps coming up. as a prank, they rang the hospital, got through to the ward, when they got through, it is jacintha, the hospital and the palace are not blaming her, she felt a huge sense of responsibility as a result of this. so the two djs have taken themselves off air. that's what the radio company's statement said, at least, and they did so out of respect, and they are under attack and they are going to lie low for awhile. there's a lot of feeling about this story, and they're getting the brunt of it. >> max, thanks very much. let's talk about this hoax and the tragic aftermath.
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i was stunned when i heard about this. i was so sad, what are you hearing about this? >> like you, wolf, i was absolutely just stunned, saddened, a dreadful tragedy. i can't help feeling there must be something we don't know here in the story. it seems very, very odd that a mother of two young children, perfectly happy, enjoying her work and her life, would take her own life over what, in the end, was a silly prank, and it should not have happened, but the djs have been pulling stunts like this for donkey's years. it seems odd that she would take her life over something so trivial. >> they say they're thoughts are with the nurses family and with her, but how do you think the
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royal family is reacting privately. this is clearly more unwanted attention on them. >> the interesting thing there, i'm sure william would have been furious. there was his wife, she was ill, suffering from acute morning sickness, prince charles made light of it, and i guess the royal family, once she was fine and out, were beginning to see the funny side, and they have been through much worse than this other the years, and i'm sure they would have just seen it as a brank prank by silly dj a very fine nurse, who has been there for a number of years, has taken her life. and we have to be a little fair here to these two djs, we don't know that this woman has taken here life because of what happened. it certainly looks that way, but until there is some substantive
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evidence, you have to give them a little bit of a benefit of a doubt. i would imagine they're going through their own horror. they have to go through the conscious of this woman taking her life for the rest of their lives. their careers are ruined, their life is ruined, and all for what was a prank. and i think you can get a little too sanctamonious about this. these things have been happening -- their life, of course they did, and if you listen to the tape, because i did, they are trying to understand what happened here, there is no doubt they never thought in a million years they
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would get through to be discussing kate middleton's health in any way. it doesn't defend what they did, and i'm not defending them, but i though i you have to put it into some kind of context. the ramifications of a silly prank could not have been more serious. >> a lot of people will have to take deep lessons, assuming the worst, that this woman was so distraught by what happened, she was blaming herself for embarrassing the royal family. my hope, and i hope it's yours as well, that some disk jockeys learn a lesson. you never know where it will wind up. >> the thing about pranks, they have been around for as long as we have been alive. i think you have to be very, very careful in you're in the world of broadcasting. they broadcast this life, and
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they didn't know what would happen. and at the very least, probably somebody who worked at the hospital would be compromised and made to look afool. and that, in itself, for a broadcaster, is unacceptable, if we pulled that stunt at cnn, i expect we would lose our jobs, and rightly. >> i covered it on my show, pointed out that the accents they used was so ridiculous to me, it seemed crazy to me that someone could get through to the ward. they had, themselves, been surprised they got through. i put that down because i think the temptation is to blame these
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djs for the loss of this life, and it may be a step too far i think. >> good insight from pierce morgan as usual. he has an exclusive tonight, corey booker spent the last week living off of food stamps, just $30 to spend, he will be on later tonight with pierce. thanks for that. >> still ahead, the names of secret service agents and informants exposed because of computer tapes left on a train. treatment for low t, m can restore testosterone levels back to normal in most men. axiron is not for use in women or anyone younger than 18. axiron can transfer to others through direct contact. women, especially those who are or who may become pregnant, and children should avoid contact where axiron is applied as unexpected signs of puberty in children or changes in body hair or increased acne in women may occur. report these signs and symptoms to your doctor if they occur.
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we're learning about a new investigation into the united
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states secret service for an immense and embarrassing security beareach. >> this had all of us asking how could it happen? >> yes, kate and wolf, it was on computer tapes that were misplaced. it is potentially damaging information that could put secret service agents at risk or the lives of their families, and it's been unaccounted for for almost five years. law enforcement and congressional sources tell cnn that the u.s. secret service is being investigated for a damaging loss of information. it was on two back up computer tapes that contain sensitive personnel and investigative situation. >> you lost the identidrive cong the identity of every agent. >> in this case, our sources say
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the tapes were left by a contractor on a train in washington's metro rail subway system. the incident occurred in february of 2008, but is now the subject of an investigation by the department of homeland security's inspector general. they're not commenting on why the probe is going on now. i asked eric oneil about the loss. >> some of the information could cause lives to be at risk if someone wanted to get at the families of a high-level government worker, or someone they perceived as being able to work against a terrorist sell. >> the secret service says no lives were endangered by the 2008 loss. no fraud occurred as a result, but how did it happen? >> the contractor was transporting two tapes in a pouch. the sources say the contractor got off a metro train, later
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realized the touch had been left behind. the secret service and metro police were exacted, an aggressive search took place, but one source says the tapes have not been recovered. >> these back-up tapes your not marked or identified in any way and were protected by multiple layers of security. they could not be accessed without the proper equipment, applications, and encoding. >> why put sensitive information about agents or anything else on a removeable disk? >> i think in 2008, when this occurred, some of the information may have been on removeable disks because that's how they transported information. we have leapt forward since then. >> why did a contractor have it? why was it not chained to his wrist with a handcuff and case, so the second he today up, think he needed to grab it.
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>> i naught to a secret service official that did not answer, but they said that protocols are in place so it would not happen again. >> were they encrypted? >> some are saying it was, some are saying it was not. even if it's not encrypted, it's 2008 encryption. any good hacker, with the technology these days, could break it in moments. so if anyone gets their hands on it -- >> brian, thank you. let's talk to tom fuentes. >> it's amazing to me that two back up tapes about employees,
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informa informan informants, would be in the hands of a low level contractor, carrying them like his lunch. it makes no sense that he would do it that way. you see the vice president or dignitaries in armored cars, black suvs, if the information was that sensitive, why was it not put in armored cars, and taken with armed escort to the facility in maryland where it would then be stored for later use in terms of continuity of government, so to me this makes absolutely no sense. >> have you ever heard of a blunder like this before? >> no, i have not. >> tom, it sounds, as brian said in his piece, it sounds like it's out of james bond or a "homeland" episode.
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are there protocols in place if this kind of information goes missing. >> there's protocols in place to keep it from happening. so the eye of it being carried around, or the story that it's encrypted that no one would no what it is, i think even in 2008, it would not have been hard to break the encryption, much less with today's technology. to later say no big deal, nobody was in danger, that's ridiculous. if you have those agents identity, their social security numbers, home addresses, family members, insurance information, you're placing entire families in a vulnerable situation for identity theft and physical danger. that's part of the information now. why did it happen, who was it reported to at the time, how
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serious did they take it, were they trying to cover it up, and not have the public become aware. i have seen some reporting that said that even the employees were not notified their personal information was at risk and at large, so to speak. so there are a lot of questions with this, and it's pretty serious, even five years after the fact, it's still serious. >> not only employees, it's also informants, people risking their lives, and if they're names are out there, they're lives could certainly be in danger. >> that's absolutely true. the number of things indicated as being on those tapes, is extremely important. the identity of the employees, of informants, there may be information about policies and protocols and presidential and vice presidential security. so the idea that since the tapes have not turned up, no harm no
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foul -- we don't know that. we don't know if they're in the hands of a foreign intelligence service, and if they're just being very discreet about how they track presidential movement or the methodology used to protect the president of the united states and other key officials. >> a very, very scary situation. tom, thank you for your expertise. >> thank you, wolf. the president's top campaign strategist david axlerod has done something he has not done in decades. iday deal is to camp. you know we've been open all night. is this a trick to get my spot? [ male announcer ] break from the holiday stress. save on ground shipping at fedex office. [ ding! ] ...and spend time on the slopes. take alka-seltzer plus cold & cough... [ buzz! ] take dayquil. use nyquil d... [ ding! ]
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president obama's campaign senior strategist david axelrod was here in the situation room earlier today but his mustache
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wasn't. take a look what happened when he convinced alex costellanos to reach for the shaving cream as well. something we all watched this morning. something happened to you. you got rid of the mustache. we're going to show our viewers some of the video of that moment. a little close shave. you were on "morning joe" today. how long did you have that mustache? >> 40 years. >> i don't think i've ever shaved my mustache. when it grew in, i just kept. >> my wife has never seen me without a mustache. >> she was there with you. >> we were walking out. she said i've always hated that mustache. we've been mentioned 33 years. >> does she like you without it? >> she seems happy. but she's more proud we raised $1 million for epilepsy. >> i have a child whose life was terribly impacted by epilepsy which destroys many lives and quality of life for many people. >> there she is. >> and my wife started a
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foundation called citizens united for research in epilepsy to fund breakthrough research in epilepsy. and i made a wager on "morning joe" that if i could raise $1 million for epilepsy research by the end of november, i would shave my mustache off. we raised $1.1 million. >> wow. >> and so i was happy to -- people have lost so much more who have been impacted by epilepsy. a mustache seemed trivial. even a 40-year-old mustache. >> must have been a little nostalgia. >> let me just say i was up all night. a little anxiety. >> have you seen alex's mustache? >> one thing that made me conflicted about this was i didn't want to leave my buddy alone in the world of mustaches. we were two of the more prominent mustaches around. >> among political activists. >> one of the things we had in common. >> but now he's made a very generous offer, and i am going to accept that offer. >> what is the offer, alex? >> we're going to try to raise
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more money for cure, for epilepsy. it's such a wonderful charity. if we can raise another 500 contributions between now and the beginning of the year -- will i do this? >> right here on "the situation room." >> we're going to show bipartisanship does live in washington still and that we'll get rid of this mustache, too. >> it will be a situation right here in "the situation room." >> how long have you had yours? >> let's see. i was about 2 or 3 years old. it's a cuban thing. >> you have that cuban heritage in you. that's a big deal to shave that mustache. >> this is worse than taking away your cigars if you are a cuban. it's such an important thing. and david and i do have a lot in common. we don't always agree on politics, but we're parents. and, wolf, you know, when david had his first child lauren, this beautiful young girl. took her home, he and susan, and she started having convulsions. she had as many as 20, 25 and
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the doctors couldn't stop them and they went on like that for 20 years before research advanced and they found a way to provide some relief. epilepsy. that's what epilepsy is. and these are parents who have struggled with that. >> i applaud both david and alex. you can make a donation to citizens united for research in epilepsy. go to the website slash the stache.com. >> good to see some bipartisanship around a wonderful, wonderful cause. and it will be great to see the first mustache shaving or any haircutting any of time in "the situation room." >> a first for everything. still ahead -- same-sex marriage, marijuana and the culture wars. it's all happening at the top of the hour. "erin burnett outfront." tom foreman is filling in for erin. >> there is a lot coming up. you have to check in on wolf and see if he wants to join in on the shaving party. >> one thing we think we're sniffing out this evening is
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there's the makings of a deal. i know you guys were working on it. we've been working out it, too. all this talk about the fiscal cliff and all the tough words there's this code coming through in the language this evening, which could make quite a difference if it leads to a deal. it's really worth looking at very, very closely, and we will. we're also going to talk about the president's pot problem. he doesn't really have a pot problem, but he's got a pot problem. he's out west and it could make a big difference to him. and a lot of his constituents who helped push him back into office. it's really going to be a difficult issue for the white house to grapple with, i suspect. it's all coming up on "erin burnett outfront." >> the interesting thing about the pot problem, as you say, well, it's clearly been a big topic ever since the election. there is a real federal states rights issue going on there. >> yeah, there is. and the problem is if you pursue that path, well, there are a lot of other things that are federal states rights issues. so it's a very tricky thing to watch. you can't just look at one part of the issue and say it's just
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about that because then other people will come in and say, if that's how you feel about pot, then how do you feel about, for example, gay marriage rights state to state. immigration rights state to state? where does the state take over. where do the feds take over? it's a very tricky needle to thread. >> we'll be watching it. tom foreman filling in for erin burnett. "outfront" starts at the top of the hour. commemorations of an attack that dragged the united states into a world war. why do toys for tots and hasbro
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